Kava Ceremony Traditions and Rituals | Botanic Tonics

Kava Ceremony Traditions and Rituals | Botanic Tonics

Reviewed by Jamal Bouie

The Art and Ritual of Kava Ceremonies 

If you’re up to date with the latest trends in the supplement scene, you’ve probably heard of kava. You may even be aware of its impressive potential to increase focus, promote a sense of calm, and offer a boost of confidence in social situations. 

But this powerful herb is a plant with longstanding spiritual and cultural significance. Various groups in the South Pacific Islands have used it for centuries for ceremonies, rituals, and traditions.

Keep reading to learn more about kava—including kava ceremonies—to better understand how its cultural significance in Pacific Ocean cultures impacts its role in the modern world.

Kava and Its Cultural Significance

So, what is this mysterious herb? 

Kava-kava, typically shortened to kava, is an herbal extract derived from the Piper methysticum plant.[1] Native to the South Pacific, this shrub is in the same family as pepper and has been used by several groups in Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia for various traditional rituals. 

But why kava? The herb is a key part of ceremonial traditions because of its potential ability to foster feelings of calm and sociability, which may make it easier for community members to enjoy themselves, relax, and connect with their friends and families.[2]

What is the Purpose of a Kava Ceremony?

With various groups having held kava ceremonies across Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, there isn’t one sole purpose for these gatherings.[1] Instead, communities may complete these kava drinking rituals for a variety of occasions, including: 

  • Welcoming newcomers to their islands 
  • Reunions
  • Weddings
  • Religious rites
  • Celebrating a new chief or leader

Regardless of the reason, a traditional kava ceremony allows communities to connect, relax, and spend time together. 

What Do You Wear to a Kava Ceremony?

While exact traditions and standards can vary depending on the location and context of the ceremony, there are certain guidelines and expectations regarding what to wear to a kava ceremony in Melanesia. If you’re getting ready to attend one of these ritualistic gatherings, dressing appropriately can be a great way to show respect to your host and their community.

  • Women attending a kava ceremony are usually expected to wear a sulu, also called a sarong, and dress modestly, typically covering their shoulders and knees.[3] 
  • Local communities expect male guests to dress respectfully as well. Some men wear sarongs while others wear long shorts (covering their knees) and short-sleeve button-up shirts.[3]

Attending a kava ceremony is an honor, so ensuring you dress the part is an easy way to show gratitude for being invited to such a meaningful practice.

The Traditional Process of Kava Preparation

The traditional method of preparing this herb is similar to the process of making tea. Here’s a breakdown of how to prepare kava:

  • Gather your supplies – You’ll need a raw kava root, pestle and bowl, a tea bag or strainer, and your favorite mug. 
  • Grind the root into a powder – In order to create kava tea, you’ll first need the root in powder form. This makes it easier to create a potent beverage, especially since kava prepared at home may not be as concentrated as tonics and tinctures that contain this key ingredient.
  • Put the powder into a brewing strainer – Next, you’ll want to put the kava powder into a brewing strainer (or a tea bag) and add it to warm water, being extra careful that the liquid isn’t too hot. Allow your kava drink to steep for a minimum of ten minutes.
  • Remove the bag and enjoy – Whether you’re using a tea bag or strainer to hold your kava, you’ll want to remove it from the water before you sip. Then, pour your drink into a cup or glass and enjoy the enhanced concentration and feelings of calm that can come from the magnificent kava root

Looking for an easier way to take advantage of the benefits of kava? Consider adding kava capsules to your routine or trying out a pre-made kava tincture or tonic.

See related: Ayahuasca vs. Kava

Kava in the Modern World

While attending a kava ceremony is an opportunity you definitely don’t want to pass up, there are other ways to enjoy the effects of this powerful herb without heading to the South Pacific. 

Now available in a variety of easy-to-find mediums, including kava tonics and capsules, you can integrate kava into your daily routine from the comfort of your own home. Kava consumption can be a welcome addition to your routine, no matter your diet or lifestyle.*

Experience the Effects of Kava with Botanic Tonics

With the ability to potentially increase feelings of concentration, ease worry, and even boost your mood, it’s no wonder this mysterious root from the South Pacific has gained international attention.[4] 

While you might be ready to book a ticket to Melanesia after learning about the kava plant’s rich history, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this incredible herb—and Botanic Tonics can help. 

At Botanic Tonics, we know quality is crucial when it comes to ingredients. That’s why we only source the best ingredients from around the world for our kava-based feel free tonic and feel free capsules. Keep in mind, our products contain other ingredients as well as kava, so be sure to read the supplement label. Our products are also gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and 100% vegan, so you can rest assured that you’re giving your body the very best. 


  1. University of Hawaii at Manoa Library. Traditional Pacific Island crops: kava. https://guides.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/paccrops/kava
  2. The University of Texas at El Paso. Kava. https://www.utep.edu/herbal-safety/herbal-facts/herbal%20facts%20sheet/kava-kava.html
  3. ThisWillBeU. What to expect at a Kava Ceremony in Fiji. https://thiswillbeu.com/what-to-expect-at-a-kava-ceremony-in-fiji/
  4. National Library of Medicine. Kava as a Clinical Nutrient: Promises and Challenges. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7600512/#:~:text=Kava%20is%20also%20marketed%20as,the%20well%2Ddocumented%20neurological%20benefits

About The Author

Jamal Bouie Botanic Tonic

Jamal Bouie

Jamal Bouie is an accomplished professional with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in Biomedicine at Salus University. Jamal has worked in several industries; he began his career in pharmaceutical manufacturing and transitioned to the cannabis industry, where he specialized in analytical testing and manufacturing, playing a vital role in ensuring product safety and compliance. Now, Jamal has turned his attention to the dietary supplement field, combining his scientific acumen with his passion for health and wellness.

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